Trump administration to propose big jump in funding for AI, Quantum R&D: sources


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House on Monday will propose a big jump in U.S. government spending on artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum information sciences research and development in its 2021 budget proposal, two people briefed on the plan said.

The Trump administration wants Congress to double spending on AI R&D funding from $973 million to nearly $2 billion by 2022 and to double spending on quantum information sciences spending to $860 million within two years.

Michael Kratsios, a White House adviser and U.S. chief technology officer, declined to confirm the figures but said in a statement that the budget will “ensure America continues to lead the world in critical technologies like AI and quantum. America’s economic strength and national security depend on it.”

The White House is also focused on boosting quantum information research as part of its effort to support future industries. Still in its infancy, quantum computing aims to operate millions of times faster than today’s advanced supercomputers using quantum mechanics.

The figures do not include some Defense Department research programs. Officials say the jump is aimed at keeping pace with China’s efforts. The budget proposal on Monday will include a 70% increase for National Science Foundation (NSF) for AI-related grants and interdisciplinary research institutes, rising to more than $850 million, sources said, as well as a significant jump in funding at NSF for quantum information sciences.

The White House will also propose additional funding for a number of other federal agencies.

At the same time, the White House will again propose an overall cut in federal R&D spending, a source said. The administration last year proposed $134.1 billion but Congress approved $155.9 billion. The administration is expected to propose $142.2 billion in overall R&D funding in its 2021 budget.

Last February, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order asking federal agencies to dedicate more resources and investment into research, promotion and training on AI.

The White House said last year that investment in AI is “critical to creating the industries of the future, like autonomous cars, industrial robots, algorithms for disease diagnosis, and more.”

Experts say quantum computing could have a major impact on healthcare, communications, financial services, transportation, artificial intelligence, weather forecasting and other areas.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Diane Craft and Daniel Wallis